FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Contact: Dan Farough
Phone: (517) 373-2093
Dems Introduce Anti-Trash Plan Banning New Landfills until 2011
Dems call on Republicans to end stonewalling, fight Canadian, out-of-state trash
LANSING – House Democrats today introduced anti-trash legislation that would ban new landfills until 2011. The Department of Environmental Quality released a report in February showing Michigan took in 6.2 million tons of Canadian and out-of-state trash in 2005 – a 100,000-ton increase from 2004.
"The lesson is clear: More landfills mean more trash," said Rep. Kathy Angerer (D-Dundee), lead sponsor of the legislation. "We must stop building new landfills and protect the ones we have for the use of Michigan 's citizens, not Toronto's or New Jersey's."
Angerer's plan prevents landfill operations from expanding until 2011. Michigan has an estimated 17 years of landfill space left for citizens in the state – but that space is being gobbled up by garbage from Canada, Ohio , Wisconsin, New Jersey and other states. In addition to having a glut of landfills, Michigan also charges waste companies 21 cents a ton, the lowest dumping charge in the region.
Since 2005, House Republicans have repeatedly refused to pass tough anti-trash measures that attack the economics of the garbage trade. Amid public pressure, Republicans finally announced a so-called trash "plan" that lets Michigan stop Canadian trash only if Congress gives Michigan such authority – something that has never happened. The Republicans' refusal to act at the state level also allowed a ban on new landfills to lapse on Dec. 31, 2005, meaning landfill operations can expand again in Michigan. At least one operation, Woodlands Meadow in Wayne County, has asked to expand.
" Michigan is a trash magnet for two simple reasons: We are dirt cheap and we have a glut of landfill space," said House Democratic Leader Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga). " Michigan needs more jobs, not more landfills. By banning new landfills, we can yank away the welcome mat to garbage companies."
According to the DEQ, garbage from Canada and other states made up 29 percent of all the trash in Michigan landfills in 2005, up from 28 percent in 2004. Michigan residents, meanwhile, sent 100,000 tons less trash to the state's landfills in 2005 compared with 2004. More than 400 Canadian trash trucks rumble across Michigan's three border bridges and into the state every day.
"Our citizens are doing the right thing and throwing out less trash," Angerer said. " Michigan has a chance to act now at the state level to fight the growing problem of Canadian and out-of-state garbage. I urge my colleagues across the aisle to end their stall tactics and help protect our families' quality of life."
Democrats have also fought for a year to raise the dumping charge on trash companies to $7.50 a ton.
House Democratic Communications